Friday 24th January 2020, 10.05pm (day 3,074)
The blog’s first trip to Northern Ireland, and only my third. Has it been as wet as this neon display suggests? No — or not yet, anyway.
One of those days that was spent sat at home, marking. On such days, photographically, I’m glad my house has a view. It’s been a mild winter thus far, which doubtless some will attribute to climate change but frankly I think Britain always does have these, every few years: the last really mild one was 2013-14. But then again maybe some east wind will cover us in snow in March, as happened in 2018….
Abingdon Street is one of the keys to making my walk between Victoria station and my office as peaceful and traffic-free as is possible. In summer 2018 it was closed off, to allow for the building of the latest boutique hotel that Manchester city centre doesn’t need. This annoyed me so much that I specifically moaned about it, twice, in the manuscript of the book I wrote on sabbatical last year (due out in March, apparently). However, last week it looked as if preparations were being made for its reopening and today I got to walk the length of it again for the first time in 18 months. Thankfully, despite the concrete carbuncle now stood at one end, it remains as peaceful and traffic-free as before. Welcome back. These are the little things that matter, sometimes.
Not that I’ll be using it again for a couple of weeks — I’m not back in Manchester for work for a fortnight.
Another very beautiful (but frosty) winter’s morning, part of which we spent walking from our hotel back to New Street station through a near-deserted Birmingham city centre. I don’t know this place well; it seems a strange mix of time periods, blocks of urban desolation suddenly becoming US-style skyscraper downtown and then a bit further on, leafy suburbia. Anyway, this shot relies on two things: the narrow slot between two small road signs and the flare effect having behaved itself well.
Early January, time to take down the Christmas decorations. Or, in this case, the Christmas ice-based themed dispenser of alcohol. Let’s time how long it is before the next similar installation thing goes up outside the Corn Exchange; when’s Chinese New Year, a month?
A Manchester shot for the first time since December 19th. I must be showing my face on campus again. I like it when there’s nobody there. I only went in, basically, to up my step count.
There is a nice optical illusion on fhis shot. Look at the three pieces of guttering to the right and note how we seem here to have one of those ‘can this shape exist?’ dimensional paradoxes. I know how it’s happened, but it’s not immediately obvious on the picture itself.
This duck looks contented enough to me. I swear that is a smile at the corner of its bill. Mind you, one thing to not complain about in 2020 thus far is the weather, and today was another very pleasant day. I like this picture because of the very limited pallette — it’s strictly brown, maybe a bit of grey — but still interesting.
Not the greatest photograph I know, but the year isn’t ending very excitingly. Nor can I raise a great deal of enthusiasm for the prospect of 2020, a year whose number bounces pleasantly off the tongue and once seemed fabulous and futuristic in the anticipation, but now promises stagnancy and a sort of darkness. I will do my best to keep documenting it (or my little part of it anyway) but there wasn’t much to see today.
This is the blog’s ninth Christmas Day, golly. It’s nice to get out and take the air on these days if the weather allows, and, counting back, four of these 25th Decembers have been marked with shots of the outside world and not just some poultry remnants. This shot is taken pretty close to that on 25/12/12, looking west from Sandy Lane, above the Nutclough Woods and towards one of my home town’s unusual architectural sites. Happy Christmas to you all, whether you celebrated it, however you spent it.